Graham Laing decided to retire 10 years earlier than planned to enjoy an epic driving tour with his SLC. The plan, inspired by conversations with his Father, was to drive the SLC from the southern most tip of mainland Europe in Spain to the northernmost tip of mainland Europe in Norway.
When he told his children, they said ‘you should write a blog about it’… So that’s exactly what Graham is doing. Graham approached the SLSHOP and asked whether we would be interested in hosting his work, and we were only too happy to share his story. The SLCenic Route was born!
In this episode Graham reaches Holland for no reason at all other than to pass through it.
The SLCenic Route
Episode 30 – Bremen to Belgian border via Netherlands 330 miles
There is going to be a lot of flat land to cover today.
This part of northern Germany and the Netherlands are the large fertile alluvial plains created by the great European rivers starting in the Alps and draining into the North Sea. Think of the Netherlands being built on what has been stripped of the Swiss mountains – it shows how big the Swiss Alps used to be.
There was no real reason to go to the Netherlands other than to tick off another country visited. The only visible difference to the northern German area around Hamburg and Bremen was the language on road signs and price of fuel.
When I stopped the Dutch spoke English extremely well but were obviously a bit tone deaf as they thought my accent wasn’t too strong!
Driving on the rural roads wasn’t as important in the Netherlands; because the land is so flat and you actually see more from motorways as they are all raised up. Being summer, there were no tulip fields to admire, but what you can admire is the use of proper cycle lanes. It isn’t just the Dutch, northern Germany is also full of cycle lanes that aren’t just painted lines at the side of the road. On a sunny summer weekend, they are used a lot, not by MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) but by normal people, young and old. Back in my favourite country Norway, I forgot to mention they also had a lot of cycle lanes used by cyclists and cross country skiers on roller skis.
Chatting to the host of the Airbnb who was interested in the trip and the SLC, he asked “A car that is 46 years old must have a few faults”. My answer is quite simple, it would take me all day to go through all the little things that need sorting, fixing or improving, my SLC is good, but not a concours-quality car. It will, however, take just 5 minutes driving it to appreciate all that is right about the car, from the solid build quality, smooth rattle free ride and terrific looks.
We went for a short drive and he was suitable impressed, especially when a bunch of kids gave him the thumbs up as we went through his town centre.
I saw another SLC being driven today and 3 SL’s, they were not together on a rally, just at different times during the day. I suppose if you are going to see these beautiful cars anywhere it would be in Germany.